UK Police: Body Found in Channel Is Soccer Star Sala

Pilot David Ibbotson is still missing, and the search has been called off
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2019 12:11 AM CST
Updated Feb 8, 2019 7:06 AM CST
UK Police: Body Found in Channel Is Soccer Star Sala
This image shows the rear left side of the fuselage, including part of the aircraft registration, of the plane that went missing carrying soccer player Emiliano Sala on Jan. 21 2019.   (AAIB via AP)

On Thursday it was announced a body had been recovered from the wreckage of the plane that had been carrying Emiliano Sala. Now, Dorset Police confirm: the body is that of the 28-year-old soccer star. The BBC details the timeline of the recovery efforts after the Jan. 21 plane crash, starting with the discovery of the wreckage in the English Channel on Sunday, followed by a body being spotted Monday and the retrieval of that body on Wednesday in "challenging conditions." The body was brought back to Portland in Dorset and identified there.

David Ibbotson, the 59-year-old pilot, has still not been found, and the UK's Air Accidents Investigation Branch has officially called the search off due to bad weather expected for the "foreseeable future." David Mearns, an oceanographer who helped lead the search, says that he's seen these types of situations before and that "the bodies were found days and weeks after, not far from where they were lost." "The families of Mr Sala and pilot David Ibbotson have been updated. Our thoughts remain with them all," Dorset Police said in a statement, per ESPN. The head of the French Nantes club that Sala had played for before being signed to Cardiff says the team will retire his No. 9 jersey, per Eurosport. (Read more plane crash stories.)

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